Posted by: thetavernthoughts | May 12, 2015

The Bed Time Stories

Writing Prompt:: “So you are in middle of convention in which in all the writers are present. Great as well as not so great. ONe of the favourite writers finishes his story and everyone claps. NOw they are looking at you and it is your turn to narrate a story.

Prompt from 

“First words are a bitch” I said. They all laughed the laughter of recognition. “This is rather Kafkaesque.” I said looking at Franz, who gave me a thumbs up. “So I woke up one day and found myself in a room with the spirit of all great writers and story tellers. I wondered why I had been invited I am by no means a greater writer. Hell! None of you even know my name. No one has even heard my stories. Thank god I am the last one to speak or else I would not have been able to narrate this story in a way that all of you would understand. I will adhere to wishes of Stephen King here and narrate to you the first story I ever told. I told this story to my eldest son many many years ago because he had trouble sleeping at times. Once upon time an immortal goddess Prabha and her mortal son Manus lived in the forest. The goddess was extremely wise and kind and everyone loved her. All the beings of the forest were nurtured by her love and they all worshiped her. They especially loved her son who was honest innocent and kind, just like the goddess. Unknown to them the spirit of darkness Ratri was very jealous of this love she received. Everyone was afraid of the Darkness and feared the tricks he could play on everyone’s minds. The evil spirit was not immortal and could be easily defeated with fire. Yet, fire itself terrified everyone in the forest, so no one could wield it and defeat the spirit of darkness. One day using his power of illusions, Ratri confused little Manus and made him drift away from his mother. He confused the little child by calling him into the deep into the forest using his mother’s voice. “Come hither of little prince, and taste these berries.” Calling Manus thus Ratri tricked him deeper and deeper into he forest. Soon Manus was lost in the forest. Without his mother protecting him, Manus started getting scared. He realised that he had been tricked by the evil spirit Ratri. The paths in forest seemed to go round in circles. Manus realised that he had been taken away from the realm of the goodness and into the crueler parts of the forest. As the night set in, the creatures of the darkness, the predators, started hunting. As the night set upon the forest, Ratri started covering everything in his darkness. Manus found himself surrounded by darkness. He panicked. In his panic he decided to hide inside a cave nearby. All around him he could hear the cunning predators of darkness feasting on the innocent. The forest it seems was filled with noises of the predators growls and the cries of their prey. Amidst this madness, the cave seemed like the safest option. Once inside the cave he realised that entire outside world had become pitch dark. Ratri filled the place with so much darkness that the young boy could no more see his own hand. Outside in the forest, the ever courageous and wise bear runs to the goddess and informs her of Ratri’s nefarious deed. Angry the great goddess rushes into he realm of Darkness. Smiting Ratri’s predatory minions along the way. She holds the spirit of darkness by his throat and demands that her son be released. Fearing his life Ratri slips from her grip and hides in the cave where Manus was. The great goddess Prabha tries to enter the cave and rescue her son. Ratri guards the cave with all the powers of darkness and she is not able to enter it. Manus himself though cannot see,but he can hear his mother. He feels it is a trick of the Darkness and tries to ignore it. The wise bear then points out that the only way to win the battle is for young Manus hold fire and dispel the lord of  darkness. This could only happen within the cave because the magic the closed the doors was designed to allow only the flesh and blood of Manus to pass. The goddess, angry and frustrated, throws in some wood  and flint inside the cave and commands her son to light the fire. Manus refuses to obey. Darkness laughs at Prabha’s face. “If he stays inside long enough I will fill his soul with my evil essence” Ratri thunders. Afraid the goddess loving tells her son “Open your ears, Manus, do not be afraid. I have given you means to fight the Darkness now. Light the fire and dispel Ratri from that cave. It is the only way you can be rescued.” Manus hears what his mother is saying yet refuses to obey, thinking it was another ruse of the Darkness. “Do you not know, oh little one, soon you will be consumed with spirit of Darkness. Please reach out for the flint stones rub them together and light a fire.” Manus still does not co operate. “Oh! the prince of the forest and heir to all things covered in my light, do you not want to rule, how would you do that without a little bit of courage?” Again no response. The goddess now begins to get angry with her son. “Manus I command you, light that fire.” Again the boy refuses to move. The goddess begins to panic, she wonders if her son is forever lost to Darkness. The wise bear once again intercedes. “Perhaps you should scare the little prince into courage.” The goddess teary eyed yet angry looks at the Bear. “What does that even mean?” The bear screams loudly. “Oh prince quick your mother is now going to trade her life for yours?” Inside the cave Ratri could feel the young prince shiver on the mention of the suggestion. He tries to hide the flint stones, but before he could do so Manus catches hold of them. With no thought except his mother’s safety the young prince begins to rub the flint stones. The sparks weaken the grip of the Darkness and Manus quickly catches hold of a branch which catches fire. Burning from within Ratri is forced to run out of the cave. Once out of the cave the goddess catches Ratri and banishes him into the shadows where he is forever imprisoned stripped of his power of magic . Teary eyed both mother and son unite. That day the immortal goddess promises her son “I will forever watch over you and your children.” Manus though still a child no more fears anything, for he had the gift of the goddess in his hands, fire. Fire ensured that no creature would ever rise to challenge Manus. “Remember” she said as she left “teach your children to have faith in me and love me even if they are surrounded with terrifying darkness and I will stand by them. Look up to me for guidance and you shall never be lost.” She calls upon the mortal daughter of the sea to live with him and ascends into the skies to become a million stars.” Thus ends the first story I ever told. “Did your son believe this story literally?”  Richard Dawkins asks. “Yes, we even had a figure which all my children would worship.” “So you started religion from your bedtime stories?” “Being the first human Richard, we were completely at the mercy of the forest. At night when the tigers would come out to hunt and leopards would start stalking their prey or when the Hyenas laughed into he night, these things would strike terror into the hearts of children. It was not uncommon to develop an fear of the forest. Fear in its most irrational form gave birth to stories about monsters that hide in the dark, in the unknown parts of the forest. Fear of the unknown you see. Which is what my son was developing. I realized then. Most of the successful children and hunters had somehow overcome this fear. They all claimed to have discovered an unusual force that enabled them to do so. So I used those stories to create a ruse that became religion. I did not want my children to lose. Just like fear took an irrational grip of their minds, faith in an unknown entity gave them courage to walk towards it. In-fact, I believe my stories that threaded into a religion helped them prosper in those early hours of Human Life. The same techniques were used by later generation to control others and keep them in the dark. That is no fault of mine. I had no idea what impact this system of thought would have on the future, it put my son to asleep and gave him the courage to hunt a tiger, later in his youth. That is all I cared about. Yes, that is what made my family unique, that we worshiped an unknown and unseen entity and drew courage from it, while others shared our fear of unknown but never could find the real courage in it to face it. My children won in the end you are all here are a proof of that. Mitochondrial eve is what you classify me as but you all call me “mother”. That is all I ever was a good mother who conjured stories to send my children to sleep. The context of all these stories was irrational courage. For when fear takes irrational forms, you need to give courage an irrational form too, which was my motivation for these stories.”


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